Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Justice League: Gods and Monsters

© by Gerald So | | 5:00 A.M.

The latest Warner Bros. Animation direct-to-DVD DC Comics movie is by far the edgiest. Unlike The Flashpoint Paradox, Gods and Monsters doesn't present hard-to-swallow, dark versions of Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, and Diana. It challenges us to warm to new characters with different origins.

General Zod killed Jor-El in Krypton's final moments and replaced him as DNA donor before sending the rocket to Earth. As a baby, Superman (Benjamin Bratt) was found not by the picture-perfect Kents, but by migrant workers who raised him on the fringes of the American Dream.

Batman is Kirk Langstrom (Michael C. Hall), who, hoping to cure his cancer, took an experimental vaccine laced with bat venom that turned him into a vampire.

Wonder Woman is Bekka (Tamara Taylor), Highfather's granddaughter, whose marriage to Orion sealed the treaty between New Genesis and Apokolips, though as soon as the marriage was official, Highfather's forces turned and slaughtered Darkseid's.

Establishing these origins in flashbacks, Gods and Monsters mainly involves the murders of top U.S. scientists by shape-shifting robots whose technology mimics the Trinity's powers. The thing is, this Trinity is the sort we'd believe might suddenly grab power. And yet, their harder paths help us sympathize. Their heroics are less expected, their hero labels harder earned.

Incidentally, the trinity of Bruce Timm, Alan Burnett, and Geoff Johns came up with this ground-breaking story, and a featurette on the Blu-ray details how they did it.

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